DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am gettting ready to clean 29,000 brick with muratic acid. I am getting mixed responses about wrapping my windows. It will be very difficult to put plastic around all of the windows. If the windows are wet and I use a 50/50 of Muratic acid and water will it damage Pella aluminum clad windows? Any response would be greatly appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,194 Posts
Why are you cleaning brick with muriatic acid? What's on the brick that you need this chemical?
The windows would be the least of the issues. Vegetation, cars, people, etc...
Ron
 

·
You talking to me?
Joined
·
7,551 Posts
muriatic acid is commonly used on brick, at least on fresh brick to clean it after a build.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Brick cleaning

This is a new home, and the brick was laid in cold temperatures. We used torpedo heaters and tarps to keep the mortar from freezing. It took 6 weeks to complete this project, and the mortar joints are a little inconsistent in color and I need to clean some excess mortar off of a few of the bricks. This brick is called Old Charlotte a maroon color brick. Is there any potential for ruining the the aluminum clad on the window? Should it be covered with plastic? I think it will still get on the window seal even if it covered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,194 Posts
Acids etch things. I'd test it on both glass and painted aluminum before starting this endeavor.
Ron
 

·
Concrete & Masonry
Joined
·
3,891 Posts
As a mason, I would never let muriatic get any where near today's windows. Too much chance of ruining the glass/cladding. Plus, you'd be alot safer using a Prosoco product like Detergent 600 or one of the many other products they have. Go to their site, they have alot of helpful info there.
 

·
You talking to me?
Joined
·
7,551 Posts
I'm an old guy

not a mason

I'd listen to the mason whose post is just above mine.

Muriatic acid at least used to be commonly used to power wash brick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
Do not use muriatic acid. Muriatic acid is a waste product from the pickling of steel. It contains contaminants that can ruin your brick. Using it will void your warranty from the brick manufacturer, ruin your aluminum windows, and very possibly cause harm to you and your employees.

There are products on the market for cleaning freshly laid brick, and they will work on older mortar as well, but will require a lot more effort. My suggestion to you as a homeowner is to pay someone to do it correctly, or suffer the consequences.

I will not tell you how to do it, but I can assure you that if you do it your self, the results will probably turn out worse than what you have now. Some things are not DIY, and this is one of them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Absolutely no muriatic acid. Like Tscar said the wrong product will void any warranty from the brick manufacturer. Different brick require different cleaning products. Why is the masonry company that laid the brick not cleaning them? I work for a large company (someone in the company washes our brick work) but when I do side work I would never let someone like a home owner wash down my brick work.
 

·
You talking to me?
Joined
·
7,551 Posts
Do not use muriatic acid. Muriatic acid is a waste product from the pickling of steel. It contains contaminants that can ruin your brick. .
Huh? It may be used in pickling steel but what I buy is not leftover from that. I have virgin hydrochloric acid. Companies make it every day.

Not really trying to argue with you TS but I have seen it used on brick buildings for years.

there may be better products now for doing what the OP is doing but muriatic acid still has it's used in brick and concrete work from what I have seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
Muriatic acid is a 30% concentration of hydrochloric acid. You may well have "virgin" hydrocloric acid, but I seriously doubt it. Read the label and see what it contains beside hydrochloric acid and water. If it has anything else, it is not virgin, and I know of no such thing available in the consumer market.

FYI, the fact that something has been done incorrectly for 30 years does not make it right.

A couple of times a year I have the dubious pleasure of telling a brand new homeowner that the apple of their eye, the project they have poured their money and soul into is pretty much ruined (visually, and sometimes structurally) as far as the brick is concerned.

So you go ahead and continue to play russian roulette using a product that is not recommended by any reputable brick manufacturer, and I will continue to stick with the best practices.
 

·
You talking to me?
Joined
·
7,551 Posts
well, I can't prove you wrong tonight. I went out to look and the label has come off the ol' jug 'o acid.

Now, I don't know who is and who isn't a reputable brick manufacturer but this here company called Hanson Brick claims to be the largest brick manufacturer in North America. I would guess they might be considered to be reputable.

http://www.hansonbrick.com/en/about/index.php

Now, here in their "technical faq's" , they do not seem to have a problem recommending muriatic acid to clean bricks. In their faq for new bricks, they do recommend Prosoco products but they seem to warn against using acid not because it is wrong but due to improper use, it can stain. That would mean it is a user problem and not a product problem and they are simply trying to avoid problems before they happen.

http://www.hansonbrick.com/en/architect/technotes.php?technote_id=3

Now, while acid may not be the best method or currently recommended over some other products, they definately do not prohibit their use.



http://www.hansonbrick.com/en/architect/techFAQ.php?id=05

but, like I said, I'm not a mason and will defer to experience. Hanson Brick seems to have a lot of experience as they make about 1.7 BILLION bricks a year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
The staining they discuss is from the contaminants in muriatic acid. It is operator error that causes most problems, so why recommend a product that is risky over one that is produced for the EXACT purpose for which you will use it? Wouldn't that tend to provide better results?
 

·
You talking to me?
Joined
·
7,551 Posts
fine, you win T. Although they specifically point to another reason for the staining, you win. It's not worth arguing to me.
 

·
Concrete & Masonry
Joined
·
3,891 Posts
C'mon now nap, your allright, don't be taking your ball & going home now. Probably the most important point that Tscar was making is that it isn't the BEST practice. No doubt muratic will clean the brick, but at what cost/side effects? Many of todays brick have somewhat delicate faces that can be destroyed by muratic, much less windows, glass, etc... Quite honestly, I don't think it would effect Tscar, NJ Brickie, or myself one bit if the OP destroyed his masonry work, but take it from us, we've seen the damages first hand through the years. I also just noticed the OP's ratio of 1:1 for the muratic, definately flirting with disaster. I believe muriatic recommends starting at 20:1, & increasing to as much as 10:1 if necessary. Not my recommendation, but def. don't go 1:1 if you dont listen to us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
I prefer to call it discussion, and I have been discussing this very issue for 20 years with Architects, General Contractors, and Masons, to say nothing of chemical manufacturers. You either did not read it thoroughly, or did not completely understand what they are saying. All proprietary new construction masonry cleaners contain acid. They also contain buffers and other chemicals to reduce or eliminate some of the hazards of doing so.

Hansen brick recommends the use of ProSoCo proprietary cleaning products, as do most brick manufacturers (or equal). None recommend the use of unbuffered muriatic acid.

From The Brick Institute of America, tech note 23, "Identifying Stains":

"Some brick develop yellow or green salt deposits
as shown in Photos 7 (yellow) and 8 (green)
when they come in contact with water or unbuffered
hydrochloric (muriatic) acid. These stains
are usually vanadium salts. They may be found
on red, buff or white brick; however, they are more
conspicuous on lighter-colored brick."

"Unbuffered hydrochloric (muriatic) acid should not
be used to clean tan, brown, black or gray brick."

From The Brick Institute of America, tech note 20, "Cleaning Brickwork":

"Do not use unbuffered muriatic acid"


Both from bia.org, Technical notes.


Please note that this information is designed for contractors. Homeowners should not even consider using muriatic acid for cleaning anything. It is a dangerous material to mess around with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,889 Posts
..."The staining they discuss is from the contaminants in muriatic acid."
Tscarborough

Not sure I buy that...if the 'stains' they are referring to are vanadium salts, then these metals are in the brick, not the muriatic. And even though muriatic may be derived from the steel pickling industry, one cannot conclude that the muriatic is 'contaminated' and therefore causing the stains.

And, pray tell, what contaminants are in hydrochloric acid solutions? I'll also suggest that proprietary products used to clean brick, (and someone mentioned ProSoCo products), are formulated acidic products that may or may not contain hydrochloric acid and indeed are the products suggested to clean brick because of their track record for safety. In other words they do the same job - but in a 'better' fashion, not that they're more effective than muriatic, just safer.

I think they brick associations put their own interpretation and meaning to the word "unbuffered". In the chemical sense, a buffering agent maintains a given pH level no matter what is done to the product. I don't know of any other product needed to be added to hydrochloric for it to have a constant pH over time and to me it is pretty well self-buffering. Over time it may degrade - but that's not because a buffer was added.

I just think that the bia is strongly suggesting that muriatic not be used on its own, for safety reasons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
Ferrous oxides plus trace amounts of heavy metals. This is what contributes to the acid staining. They are talking about staining caused by the salts in the brick which can be drawn out by improper use of acidic materials (generally not pre-wetting or using high pressure that drives the cleaner into the pores of the brick).

Safety is certainly an issue, but the bottom line is as stated above:

Why use muriatic when there is a product specifically designed to perform the job? Do you use a shovel to eat ice cream? Because you can, you know.

Cost? Is a couple of bucks worth the risk?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,889 Posts
So, are you saying that 'trace amounts' of contaminants in muriatic are the cause of staining on brick? I think you might have to clarify what 'trace amounts' are in the muriatic and in the brick for staining to be attributable to one or the other - but my money's on impurites in the brick, just as you go on to say.

When it comes to chemicals, I am all in favour of greater safety and for tailor-made products to be used for a precise job - so I think we are on the same page on that issue. That's why I don't use elephant-gun chemicals to obtain the best results. Cost is not an issue for me, but may be for the average contractor or DIYer; so I like seeing the muriatic being limited to knowledgeable users only and applaud their efforts.

:)
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top